In a move that could shake the video game industry to its core, Microsoft is apparently set to launch a $99 Xbox 360 + Kinect bundle next week. The company supposedly will offer the price to those willing to sign a two-year agreement for a $15 per month service package.
The Verge reports that Microsoft will offer a 4GB model of the video game console complete with its Kinect peripheral for a mere $99 and it will be available as early as next week in Microsoft retail stores.
It’s unclear if Microsoft will offer it online.
Of course, getting a console at that price will come with a catch and that catch is a two year agreement with Microsoft for a service package that is said to be similar to an Xbox Live Gold Membership. There will also be additional streaming content from cable and sports package providers although there was no elaboration on what those extras might be.
Microsoft will allow customers to break that agreement during the two years, however, much like a mobile carrier, the company will apparently charge a early termination fee. The report did not specify how much the ETF would be. If Microsoft decides to follow in the footsteps of many mobile providers, it will likely be steep at first and then depreciate as time goes on.
The company is also said to be featuring a two year warranty with the bundle.
Doing the math, the two year cost for a subsidized Xbox 360 would be $459. That’s a little more expensive then the $418 that Microsoft charges for a 4GB Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle and two years of an Xbox Live Gold Membership. As it stands, Microsoft charges $299 for the Xbox and $59 per year for the membership.
If Microsoft does decide to introduce this, it could be the start of a trend where video game manufacturers start locking customers into agreements in the same way that mobile providers like AT&T and Verizon do.
Would you buy a subsidized $99 Xbox 360 with a Kinect?